27-Year-Old Center – New Jersey Devils
Henrique scored the Devils' only goal during Friday's loss to the Islanders.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Henrique finally hit the 30-goal mark in his fifth NHL season, but a dearth of assists left him one shy of his career-high 51 points. The offseason acquisition of winger Taylor Hall should help fix that issue, as it gives the 26-year-old pivot a bona fide scoring option to whom he can distribute the puck. With Travis Zajac unable to match his scoring punch and 19-year-old Pavel Zacha still too raw for such an important role, Henrique is locked in as the first-line center in New Jersey. The improved talent around him suggests this will be his best campaign yet, even if he experiences some regression from last season’s career-high 20.1 percent shooting percentage.
Henrique turned in a second consecutive 43-point season in 2014-15, leading the Devils in scoring and playing a key role on the top power-play unit. After exploding for 25 goals in 2013-14, Henrique found twine just 16 times last season, due in part to injury trouble that plagued his linemates along with puck-moving blueliners Adam Larsson and Marek Zidlicky. While Henrique has regressed since posting 51 points in his rookie season, the 25-year-old is a solid two-way center who plays on the top power-play unit and is locked into a top-six role. The Devils still lack significant offensive firepower up front, so it’s hard to see Henrique taking a big step forward next season. It’s still likely he’ll improve slightly on the 16 goals, but expect another season of him settling around the 45-point range.
One of the few offensive players with upside on New Jersey’s roster, Henrique played with a mish-mash of linemates last season and suffered from the same inconsistent offensive production that characterized the Devils as a whole. That said, there were several flashes of scoring from the former Windsor Spitfire, including a six-game stretch immediately following the Olympic break which saw him tally nine of his team-leading 25 goals. Henrique has been the anchor on New Jersey’s offense as a center with a penchant for being in the right place. He should challenge 30 goals this season if the Devils can find an offensive identity with their plethora of aging veteran forwards to complement Henrique.
One of New Jersey's more talented younger players, Henrique enters his third NHL season as one of the team's top centers. He missed a handful of games at the start of the shortened season with a wrist injury, but returned to register 11 goals and 16 points for the offensively challenged Devils. Look for Henrique to be slotted alongside some of the team's top forwards such as Patrik Elias or Jaromir Jagr and for him to build on the 51 points he recorded as a rookie while sandwiched between Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk. Clearly, Henrique has shown the ability to play alongside stars, now the Devils need him to establish himself as a legitimate offensive threat. His value remains higher in keeper leagues, but those in single season leagues will want to roll the dice on an upside play like this former Windsor Spitfire.
Henrique followed his solid 18-goal, 51-point rookie campaign with a solid playoff performance, notching two series-winning overtime goals in New Jersey’s run to the Stanley Cup Finals. Henrique established himself as one of the top young players in the NHL last year and has even higher value in keeper leagues. Despite his solid numbers, Henrique finished the season with just three goals after the All-Star break and played most of the season between Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk. He’ll enter the season as one of New Jersey’s top centers and should challenge 60 points even without Mr. Parise riding shotgun. Bump him up a few spots in keeper leagues.
Henrique was one of the Devils' top scorers for it's AHL club, Albany, last season with 50 points in 73 games. He played one game in the NHL and is behind several other centers on the team's depth chart. Look for him to start the season in Albany and be called up when the Devils suffer injuries at the center position.
Henrique stands out as one of the top prospects in the New Jersey system. He shined in four seasons with the Windsor spitfires, averaging close to a point per game in 238 junior-league contests. Better yet, Henrique is expected to take his all-around game to the professional level in 2010-11, and he will suit up in the NHL from the start.